Archive for the ‘putin’ Category

Russia’s Medvedev says he’s Upbeat About America With President Obama

December 4, 2008

President Dmitry Medvedev said he hopes Russia’s relations with the United States improve after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, according to an interview released Thursday.

Moscow’s relations with Washington have been strained by disputes over U.S. missile defense plans and Russia’s war with Georgia in August.

But Medvedev dismissed suggestions that the chill could lead to a new Cold War, and said he expects the new U.S. administration “to take constructive, reasonable stance, to show willingness to compromise on the most difficult issues.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir ...
When journalists see photographs like this from Russia they often ask, “Who is the school master?”  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seen at their meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)

“What we have recently heard from Washington makes me feel moderately optimistic,” he said, without elaborating, in an interview with Indian Broadcasting Corporation Doordarshan that was posted on the Kremlin Web site Thursday.

Medvedev and Obama spoke by telephone last month, but the details of the conversation were not released.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_eu/eu_
russia_us;_ylt=Ag2VravpuxE68McMAS2GMOms0NUE

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NATO agrees to gradual reengagement with Russia

December 2, 2008

NATO foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday on a gradual resumption of contacts with Russia, suspended after Moscow’s intervention in Georgia, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

“Allies agreed on what I would qualify as a conditional and graduated reengagement with Russia,” De Hoop Scheffer told a news conference after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is pictured prior ...
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is pictured prior the Foreign Affairs Minister meeting at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. NATO agreed Tuesday to gradually resume high-level talks with Russia, which were frozen over the August conflict in the Caucasus, and to deepen ties with former Soviet states Georgia and Ukraine.(AFP/John Thys)

–Reuters

Russia Vows To Defeat U.S. Defenses With Missiles

December 2, 2008

Russia plans to upgrade its missiles to allow them to evade American weapons in space and penetrate any prospective missile shield, a Russian officer said Monday. The officer, Col. Gen. Nikolai Y. Solovtsov, chief of strategic missile forces, said Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missiles would be modernized to protect them from space-based components of the United States missile defense system, the news agency Interfax reported. He also said the military would commission new RS-24 missiles with systems to help penetrate a missile shield. The Kremlin has fiercely opposed the United States plan to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar system in the Czech Republic.

–Associated Press

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile ...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile site in Russia in October. Russia is developing missiles designed to avoid being hit by space-based missile defence systems that could be deployed by the United States, a top Russian general was quoted as saying Monday.
(AFP/Pool/File/Dmitry Astakhov)

Russia's intercontinental ballistic missile takes off from Plesetsk ... 
Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missile takes off from Plesetsk launching pad, May 29, 2007.(Str/Reuters)

The RS-24 is a new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, which is equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warhead. The RS-24 ICBM, which will replace the older SS-18 and SS-19 missiles by 2050, is expected to greatly strengthen the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) strike capability, as well as that of its allies until the mid-21st century. The RS-24 missile will be deployed both in silos and on mobile platforms and together with the Topol-M single-warhead ICBM will constitute the core of Russia’s SMF in the future.

On 22 October 2008 Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander, said the new-generation RS-24 multiple-warhead missile system will enter service with the SMF in 2009n said on Wednesday. “We have carried out a series of successful ground and flight tests of the RS-24 missile. The new ICBM system will be put in service in 2009,” he said. Solovtsov said the new system would “strengthen Russia’s nuclear deterrence,” including its capability to penetrate missile defense shields, and will serve to counter elements of a U.S. missile defense system deployed in Central Europe.

The RS-24 was first tested on May 29, 2007 after a secret military R&D project, and then again on December 25, 2007. A new test launch of the RS-24 from the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia has been planned for the end of 2008.

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Russia’s military is planning to upgrade its missiles to allow them to evade American weapons in space and penetrate any prospective missile shield, a Russian general said Monday.

In comments to the Interfax news agency, Russia‘s Strategic Missile Forces chief, Col.-Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, as saying that Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missiles will be modernized to protect them from space-based components of the U.S. missile defense system.

The upgrade will make the missiles’ warheads capable of flying “outside the range” of the space-based system, Solovtsov was quoted as saying.

He didn’t elaborate, but Russian officials have previously boasted about prospective new warheads capable of making sharp maneuvers to dodge missile defense systems.

Solovtsov also reportedly said the military will commission new RS-24 missiles equipped with state-of-the-art systems to help penetrate a missile shield. He did not specify that Moscow intended to penetrate a U.S. missile shield, but the Kremlin has fiercely opposed the U.S. plan to deploy a battery of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic.

Russia has criticized U.S. plans for space-based weapons, saying they could trigger a new arms race. Washington has resisted efforts by Russia and China to negotiate a global ban on weapons in space.

Reflecting Russia’s suspicions about U.S. intentions, Solovtsov alleged Monday that the U.S. is considering the scenario of a first nuclear strike that would destroy most Russian missiles. A few surviving Russian weapons launched in retaliation could then be destroyed by the U.S. missile defense system.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081201/ap_on_re_eu/eu_russia_missiles_6
 

Don’t rush Georgia and Ukraine into NATO

December 2, 2008

Several scholars have recently come forward to say it may be too early to bring Ukraine and georgia into NATO — and thus anger Russia….

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By Michael O’Hanlon
The washington Times
According to press reports, the Bush administration is pursuing a final bold foreign policy move in its last weeks. Bypassing normal procedures, it wants European allies and Canada to agree to offer Georgia and Ukraine rapid membership into NATO.

This is a singularly bad idea, much more likely to worsen U.S.-Russia relations and increase the risk of war than to do any real good for the new democracies of Central Europe.

The idea might seem a natural response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Georgia in August, by any measure a disproportionate and unwarranted action in response to tensions over the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But as most now realize, Russia’s aggression, while unjustified, was not unprovoked. Among other things, Georgia had fired artillery rounds carelessly into disputed regions at the outset of the crisis. President Mikhail Saakashvili’s desire to reintegrate South Ossetia and Abkhazia back into Georgia proper, while understandable at one level, has been pursued with wanton disregard for the role of the international community and for the need to pursue this goal carefully and peacefully. Future policymaking must seek to deter not only Russia, but other regional actors, from the kind of irresponsible behavior that pushed the Caucasus toward all-out war just three months ago.

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
8/dec/02/dont-rush-georgia-and-ukraine-into-nato/

 

By Charles King
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 30, 2008; Page B02

The tiny village of Ushguli lies in an emerald-green valley in the far north of the republic of Georgia. Hemmed in by the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus mountains, it’s a jumble of slate buildings flanking a glacier-fed stream. When I last visited, local elders showed me around the medieval stone towers that dot the countryside. A millennium ago, defense was a self-help game, and families erected private fortresses to guard against vengeful neighbors and foreign raiders.

Political leaders in the United States and Europe are careering down a path that could make faraway Ushguli the eastern border of NATO. Foreign ministers from the transatlantic alliance’s 26 member states will meet this week in Brussels to decide whether Georgia and Ukraine should take an important step toward membership. But Western leaders would be wise to act slowly, or the world’s most successful military alliance could become as irrelevant as the ancient watchtowers of the upland Caucasus.

Last April, NATO put off both countries’ applications but promised to revisit the issue in December. The August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia has sharpened the debate. To some Western observers, Russia’s intervention in Georgia demonstrated the need to expand the alliance and block Moscow’s imperial ambitions. Without the security guarantees provided by NATO membership, the logic goes, both Georgia and Ukraine will find themselves increasingly threatened by the bear lumbering forth from the Kremlin.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/2
8/AR2008112802251.html

Russia Wants NATO, Europe To Ease Moscow’s Suspicions

November 30, 2008

Russia has reason to feel betrayed by the process of NATO expansion, begun in 1997. Seven years earlier, the Russians believe, American and German officials working on German reunification pledged not to take advantage of Moscow‘s weakness by extending NATO into Russia’s traditional backyard. By reneging on that promise, Western leaders have made Russians doubt their trustworthiness.

By Michael Mandelbaum | NEWSWEEK

To the Kremlin, the expansion process has also seemed to be based on dishonest premises. U.S. officials advertised it as a way of promoting democracy, of forcing ex-Soviet states to reform. But the democratic commitment of NATO’s first ex-communist entrants—Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic—was never in doubt. And if the Americans truly believed that NATO membership was the best way to guarantee free elections and constitutional rights, why didn’t they immediately offer it to the largest ex-communist country of them all, Russia itself? Instead, Moscow was told it would never be able to join.

NATO expansion taught Russia another lesson. The process went ahead because Moscow was too weak to stop it. This told the Russians that to have a say in European affairs, they needed to be able to assert themselves militarily. Last summer’s war in Georgia was one result.

Given this history, what should the West do now about Russia? We have no good options. In the wake of the war, some in the United States renewed the call to welcome Georgia into NATO. But NATO is a mutual-defense pact. Making Georgia a member would mean that we’d have to come to the country’s aid should fighting with Russia break out once more. This would require putting Western troops, tanks, aircraft and perhaps even nuclear weapons on Russia’s border—to which the Russians would respond with comparable forces. The U.S. military is already seriously overstretched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet doing nothing would look like a retreat in the face of Russian aggression.

In the short term, the incoming U.S. president needs to think like a doctor: “First, do no harm.” This means deferring any offer of NATO membership to Georgia (and Ukraine, for that matter). Some may object that this will reward Russia for its belligerence. Perhaps, but the consequences of deferral are preferable to the costs of expansion—including a serious deterioration in relations with Moscow.

At the same time, the West should renew its security cooperation with Russia. NATO must eventually either include Russia or give….

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http://www.newsweek.com/id/171258

Obama’s strong-willed national security team

November 30, 2008
With Clinton as secretary of State, retired Marine Gen. James Jones Jr. as national security advisor and Gates remaining in Defense, Obama will have a choice among often starkly differing views.
By Paul Richter
The Los Angeles Times
November 30, 2008
Reporting from Washington — President-elect Barack Obama says he wants to lead an administration where strong-willed senior officials are ready to argue forcefully for differing points of view.

It appears that in two months, he’ll get his wish, and then some.

Obama’s new national security team is led by three veteran officials who have differed with each other — and with the president-elect — on the full menu of security issues, including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, nuclear weapons and Arab-Israel conflict.

The president-elect is expected on Monday to begin introducing a team that includes Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), whom he has chosen as secretary of State; retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones Jr., tapped to be the new national security advisor; and Robert M. Gates, who has agreed to stay on as Defense secretary.

Clinton, Gates, Jones

Carolyn Kaster / AP; Roslan Rahman / AFP/Getty Images; Dennis Cook / AP
THE TEAM: No longer a rival, Clinton and Obama hold similar positions on many issues. Gates, center, is admired by the Obama team despite significant differences over nuclear weapons policy. Jones has separated himself from the Obama playbook on a few issues, including troop withdrawal.

Their collaboration isn’t likely to be as contentious as the first-term Bush administration battles between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney. Clinton, Gates and Jones have worked smoothly, with the only visible clashes coming between Clinton and Gates’ deputies over Iraq.

But Obama will have some clear choices among their views, which differ in nuance in some cases and more starkly in others. Obama appears to be determined to keep them in line; advisors say he believes the Pentagon has become too strong in the Bush years, and he wants to reassert White House control.

Some American supporters of Israel have already been buzzing over the potential for conflict between Clinton and Jones on Arab-Israeli issues.

Jones, an admired former Marine commandant and supreme allied commander of NATO, was appointed last November as a Bush administration envoy charged with trying to improve the often dysfunctional Palestinian security forces. As part of that assignment, he drafted a report that caused a stir in Israel by criticizing the Israeli Defense Forces’ activities in the Palestinian territories.

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http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-security30-2008nov30,0,7160819.story

Georgia’s President Defends Actions Prior to War With Russia

November 29, 2008

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on Friday defended the decisions made in the run-up to the August war with Russia, telling a parliamentary commission that Georgia had responded to Russian “intervention.”

He also repeated assertions that his government had neither sought nor received advance approval of the Aug. 7 attack on the separatist region of South Ossetia, in particular from the United States.

Associated Press
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“We didn’t ask for a green light from anyone,” he testified. “We were telling our friends that Russia was conducting these provocations, which were completely out of any sort of framework.”

Russia’s military response to the attack was overwhelming. It routed the Georgian military, inflicted severe damage on Georgia’s economy and aggravated already troubled relations between Moscow and Washington – a staunch backer of Mr. Saakashvili.

Opposition politicians have been increasing their criticism of Mr. Saakashvili over the run-up to the war.

Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia said Wednesday that Georgian officials perceived a July visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as encouragement for the use of force against South Ossetia. Former Ambassador Erosi Kitsmarishvili also said people in Mr. Saakashvili’s circle told Mr. Kitsmarishvili that Miss Rice “gave the green light” – something Miss Rice herself has denied.

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/29/georgian
-president-defends-russia-war-moves/

Russia sends ships to awe Venezuela

November 26, 2008

Russian warships sailed into port in Venezuela on Tuesday in a show of strength as Moscow seeks to counter U.S. influence in Latin America.

Russia’s first such deployment in the Caribbean since the Cold War is timed to coincide with President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Venezuela, the first ever by a Russian president.

By Christopher Toothaker, Associated Press

The flagship of Russia's Nothern Fleet, heavy nuclear missile ... 
The flagship of Russia’s Nothern Fleet, heavy nuclear missile cruiser “Pyotr Veliky” (Peter the Great) is seen at a mooring in Severomorsk not far from the city of Murmansk, in 2007. Russian warships approached Venezuela Monday for upcoming joint maneuvers — Moscow’s first military presence in the region since the Cold War — as Washington closely monitored the situation.(AFP/Alexander Nemenov)

Russian sailors dressed in black-and-white uniforms lined up along the bow of the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko as it docked in La Guaira, near Caracas, and Venezuelan troops greeted them with cannons in a 21-gun salute. Two support vessels also docked, and the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great, Russia’s largest navy ship, anchored offshore.

Chavez, basking in the support of a powerful ally and traditional U.S. rival, wants Russian help to build a nuclear reactor, invest in oil and natural gas projects and bolster his leftist opposition to U.S. influence in the region.

He also wants weapons – Venezuela has bought more than $4 billion in Russian arms, including Sukhoi fighter jets, helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, and more deals for Russian tanks or other weaponry may be discussed after Medvedev arrives Wednesday.

Russia’s ambitions in Latin America, however, may be checked by global events. Both Venezuela and Russia are feeling the pinch of slumping oil prices, and their ability to be major benefactors for like-minded leaders is in doubt given the pressures of the world’s financial crisis.

The deployment of the naval squadron is widely seen as a demonstration of Kremlin anger over the U.S. decision to send warships to deliver aid to Georgia after its battles with Russia and over U.S. plans for a European missile-defense system.

But U.S. officials mocked the show of force.

“Are they accompanied by tugboats this time?” U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack joked to reporters in Washington. He noted that Russia’s navy is a shadow of its Soviet-era fleet.

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http://media.www.dailylobo.com/media/storage/paper344/news/20
08/11/26/News/Russia.Sends.Ships.To.Awe.Venezuela-3562172.shtml

Russia test-fires intercontinental missile: military

November 26, 2008

Russia on Wednesday test-fired for the third time its new RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at overcoming air defence systems, the military said.

“The test-firing of the RS-24 was carried out on Wednesday from the Plesetsk cosmodrome” in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia, the Interfax news agency reported.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev walks past an RS-12M ballistic ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev walks past an RS-12M ballistic missile. Russia has test-fired for the third time its new RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at overcoming air defence systems.(AFP/RIA Novosti/File/Dmitry Astakhov)

Military spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin told the agency that “the missile… was launched from a mobile launcher. This is the third test firing of the RS-24 in the last two years.”

Russia in May 2007 first test-fired the RS-24, which the military has said is designed to overcome air-defence systems such as the controversial US missile shield planned for deployment in eastern Europe.

–AFP

Poland Won’t Lobby Obama on Missile Defense

November 20, 2008

Poland’s foreign minister said yesterday that his country will wait for the Obama administration to make up its mind on basing missile defense interceptors in his country and will not lobby to have the project proceed.

Saying that the Warsaw government had agreed “out of friendship” to the Bush administration proposal to establish a U.S. base for 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski added: “We will tread carefully and wait until the new administration makes its decision.”

By Walter Pincus
The Washington Post
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The controversial European basing plan, which also involves placing a U.S. radar unit in the Czech Republic, is to be part of a broader missile defense system that the Bush administration has said is designed to intercept Iranian missiles aimed either at U.S. or European targets. Russia has voiced strong objections to the plan.

Sikorski’s remarks, made during an appearance at the Atlantic Council of the United States, a bipartisan foreign policy organization, reflect the modification of a statement posted Nov. 8 on the Web site of Polish President Lech Kaczynski. The statement said that during Kaczynski’s conversation congratulating Barack Obama, the president-elect said that “the missile defense project would continue.”
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/1
9/AR2008111903737.html